Is Whey Protein Paleo?
There’s always questions about whey protein powder (a somewhat controversial topic among the paleo circles), so what’s the answer? Let’s address it.
If getting/staying lean and enhancing health and longevity are also on your list of ‘things to do’ – then liquid food will not the best choice make. Why? Two-words: Insulin Response. Granted after you workout your insulin sensitivity is heightened and it takes less of it to clear the post workout meal glucose from the blood; but this phenomenon should be taken advantage of not hindered by a liquid induced blood sugar surge. Liquids require less processing and digestion, so instead of the slow steady blood sugar rise that happens with a dose of starchy carb and some protein from real food sources; the ‘shaker bottle’ cocktail results in a zero to 60 increase in blood glucose levels. This pedal to the metal rise requires insulin fast and even though sensitivity is heightened the end result is more insulin being produced to clear the sugar bombarded blood. This folks – is NOT what we’re going for!
And her follow up post looking at real food options to post workout meals here offers some whole food solutions to get the results you want:
Whey Protein Alternatives:
- Packets or easy-open cans of water-packed tuna, salmon and/or sardines
- Hard boiled eggs
- Pre-cooked steak or chicken sliced into easy to eat strips
- Mini paleo meatloaves (make your meatloaf in muffin pans)
- Jerky (get the good stuff – Slim Jim’s are NOT the ‘good stuff’)
- Pre-cooked frozen shrimp (just run them under water to thaw and they’re ready to eat!)
- Pre-cooked sweet potatoes (baked, roasted, etc) – these are even good cold!!
- Packets of baby food sweet potatoes and/or squash blends (there are lots of them out there!!!)
- Cans of sweet potatoes, squash and/or pumpkin (unsweetened)
- Fresh fruit (this is not the best choice – but can work in a pinch!)
- Unsweetened Coconut chips/flakes
- Raw coconut meat
- Medium Chain Triglyceride oil (MCT oil)
- Nuts and/or olives (not the best choices – but can work in a pinch)
According to Dr. Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet:
We believe that whey protein can have some potential adverse effects, because it greatly elevates insulinemia – although it can be therapeutic for diabetics in the short term. We suspect that whey protein could be detrimental long term, as hyperinsulinemia can down-regulate the insulin receptor and lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance underlies the Metabolic Syndrome, and is implicated in various other diseases, such as Acne, Alzheimer, various cancers, Coronary Heart Disease, Myopia, PCOS, and the like.
In this article, from Stupid Easy Paleo, the 5 main arguments against Whey and other protein powders are posed, yet again, ultimately the answer lies in your body.
Will you find protein powders calling themselves paleo? Yes. Absolutely. But I’ve also seen paleo “bars” using soy and agave. Just because it’s labeled paleo, doesn’t make it so.